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Design Optimization of Pressure Vessel with

Particular Design Considerations

by

ARTIK PATEL

Presented to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of
The University of Texas at Arlington
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

The University of Texas at Arlington


November 2016
Copyright © by Artik Patel 2016

All Rights Reserved

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all, I would like to express my deep gratitude and admiration to my advisor and mentor
Dr.Bo.P.Wang, who is a constant source of guidance and inspiration to me. I am very grateful to
you for the encouragement and support which you have provided throughout my time as your
student. I have been extremely lucky to have a supervisor who cared so much about my work,
and who responded to my questions and queries so promptly.

I want to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to my committee members, Dr. Kent
Lawrence and Dr. Wen S. Chan, who have been extremely helpful during the whole process of
thesis review and have helped enrich my thesis with their valuable suggestions. I would like to
mention a special thanks to Professor Weiya Jin and Professor Mingjne Zhou from the Design
Institute of Chemical Machinery, Zhejiang University for providing me the pressure vessel model.
Their insight and expertise has greatly assisted this research. I would also like to thank my friends
for the encouragement they made in support of my research.

Most importantly I would like to dedicate this work to my parents who have been there for me
always and are responsible for what I am today and without whom, the joy of completing the
educational phase of my life would be incomplete. This accomplishment would not have been
possible without them. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to one and all, who directly or
indirectly, have lent their hand in the support of my thesis work. Thank you.

November 21, 2016

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Design Optimization of Pressure Vessel with Particular Design
Considerations

By
Artik Patel
Mechanical Engineering
M.S – The University of Texas at Arlington

B.E – PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India

Advisor: Dr. Bo. P. Wang

ABSTRACT
The pressure vessels in industries are generally designed with a high safety factor because the
rupture of a pressure vessel can be extremely dangerous. A vessel that is poorly designed or
ineffectively designed to handle high pressure pose a very significant threat to life and property.
Because of this, the design and verification of pressure vessels is governed by design codes
specified by the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Code. The objective of this thesis work is to minimize the total weight of a real-world pressure
vessel structure subjected to stress constraints specified by the ASME section VIII division-2
code. Optimization is the process of finding the best feasible solution amongst the conventional
designs which accepts almost all designs which merely satisfies the problem requirements. The
main purpose of performing design optimization in pressure vessels is to reduce cost, by reducing
the weight with sufficient strength to avoid any modes of failure in the design. This work discusses
size optimization of axisymmetric pressure vessel considering an integrated approach in which
the optimization procedure is implemented by interfacing the commercial finite element analysis
software ANSYS with MATLAB optimization algorithm. A half model is used in conjunction with a
single-objective function that aims to minimize the total weight of the pressure vessel equipment.
Design parameters such as shell thickness and flange thickness are optimized while limiting the
maximum linearized membrane and membrane plus bending stresses below the ASME code
limits.

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Table of Contents
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................................................ iii
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................................ iv
LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................................... vii
LIST OF TABLES ....................................................................................................................................... x
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 1
1.1 Introduction to Optimization ........................................................................................................... 1
1.2 MATLAB Optimization Tool ............................................................................................................ 1
1.3 Finite Element Analysis using ANSYS ......................................................................................... 1
1.4 Objective and Approach ................................................................................................................. 2
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE SURVEY.................................................................................................... 3
2.1 History ............................................................................................................................................... 3
2.2 Literature Review ............................................................................................................................. 3
CHAPTER 3: Finite Element Analysis of the pressure vessel ............................................................ 5
3.1 Modelling of cylindrical pressure vessel ....................................................................................... 5
3.2 Material Properties and Element Type ......................................................................................... 8
3.2.1 SOLID95 Assumptions and Restrictions: ........................................................................... 10
3.3 Boundary Conditions ..................................................................................................................... 11
3.4 Loadings.......................................................................................................................................... 14
3.4.1 Gravity along X-axis ............................................................................................................... 14
3.4.2 Internal Pressure .................................................................................................................... 15
3.4.3 The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two lateral flanges ........... 16
3.4.4 The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two lateral flanges .......... 17
3.4.5 The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two inner flanges ............. 18
3.4.6 The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two inner flanges ............ 19
3.4.7 The pull on the cross section of the two end nozzles ....................................................... 20
3.5 Meshing ........................................................................................................................................... 21
3.5.1 Tetrahedral Mesh VS Hexahedral Mesh............................................................................. 21
3.5.2 Comparison between free mesh and controlled mesh ..................................................... 24
3.5.3 Mesh Convergence and Stress Singularity ........................................................................ 25
CHAPTER 4: Stress Analysis and Verification .................................................................................... 30
4.1 Introduction to ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel – Verification Code ................................ 30
4.2 Stress Linearization ....................................................................................................................... 30

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4.3 Stress Classification ...................................................................................................................... 32
4.4 Design Limits and Verifications ................................................................................................... 33
4.5 ANSYS Stress Linearization Results .......................................................................................... 35
4.5.1 Path-1 ....................................................................................................................................... 37
4.5.2 Path-2 ....................................................................................................................................... 39
4.5.3 Path-3 ....................................................................................................................................... 41
4.5.4 Path-4 ....................................................................................................................................... 43
4.5.5 Path-5 ....................................................................................................................................... 45
4.5.6 Path-6 ....................................................................................................................................... 47
4.5.7 Path-7 ....................................................................................................................................... 49
4.5.8 Path-8 ....................................................................................................................................... 51
4.5.9 Path-9 ....................................................................................................................................... 53
4.5.10 Path-10 .................................................................................................................................. 55
4.5.11 Path-11 .................................................................................................................................. 57
4.5.12 Path-12 .................................................................................................................................. 59
4.5.13 Path-13 .................................................................................................................................. 61
4.5.14 Path-14 .................................................................................................................................. 63
4.5.15 Paths-15,16,17,18,19 and 20 ............................................................................................. 65
4.6 Summary of Stress Analysis Results.......................................................................................... 72
CHAPTER 5: MATLAB Optimization ..................................................................................................... 73
5.1 Optimization Problem Formulation in MATLAB ........................................................................ 74
5.2 Design Space Exploration ............................................................................................................ 76
5.3 MATLAB fmincon function ............................................................................................................ 81
CHAPTER 6: Integration of ANSYS and MATLAB ............................................................................. 84
CHAPTER 7: Results and Conclusion .................................................................................................. 86
7.1 Results ............................................................................................................................................ 86
7.2 Conclusions .................................................................................................................................. 100
7.3 Future Work .................................................................................................................................. 101
REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................... 102
APPENDIX .............................................................................................................................................. 104
BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................................... 105

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Pressure Vessel half-model ............................................................................................................ 6


Figure 2: Pressure Vessel full-model ............................................................................................................. 6
Figure 3:Main Components of the Pressure Vessel Equipment ................................................................... 7
Figure 4: Cross-sectional area of the vessel .................................................................................................. 8
Figure 5: Rotating cross-sectional area to generate the vessel volume ....................................................... 8
Figure 6: SOLID95 3-D 20-Node Structural Solid......................................................................................... 10
Figure 7: Symmetry constraint on the z-plane............................................................................................ 11
Figure 8: Fixed support on the position of 1st bearing ............................................................................... 12
Figure 9: Constraint along X-axis on the position of 2nd bearing............................................................... 13
Figure 10: Acceleration due to gravity ........................................................................................................ 14
Figure 11: Internal Pressure of 0.2 MPa ..................................................................................................... 15
Figure 12: Bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two lateral flanges ........................................... 16
Figure 13: Bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two lateral flanges .......................................... 17
Figure 14: Bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two inner flanges ............................................. 18
Figure 15: Bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two inner flanges ............................................ 19
Figure 16: The pull on the cross section of the two end nozzles ................................................................ 20
Figure 17: Tetra-meshed Model of the Pressure Vessel ............................................................................. 22
Figure 18: Unaveraged Von-Mises Stress Contour for Tetra-meshed Model............................................. 23
Figure 19: Brick-meshed Model of the Pressure Vessel ............................................................................. 23
Figure 20: Unaveraged Von-Mises Stress Contour for Hexa-meshed Model ............................................. 24
Figure 21: Free mesh with Brick elements.................................................................................................. 25
Figure 22: Controlled mesh with Brick elements ........................................................................................ 25
Figure 23: Stress Intensity for Free Hexahedral mesh ................................................................................ 25
Figure 24: Stress Intensity for Controlled Hexahedral mesh ...................................................................... 25
Figure 25: Mesh Convergence Plot ............................................................................................................. 27
Figure 26: Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress ......................................................................... 27
Figure 27: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-1 ................. 28
Figure 28: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-2 ................. 28
Figure 29: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-3 ................. 29
Figure 30: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-4 ................. 29

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Figure 31: Path-1 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 37
Figure 32: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-1 ................................................................. 38
Figure 33: Path-2 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 39
Figure 34: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-2 ................................................................. 40
Figure 35: Path-3 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 41
Figure 36: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-3 ................................................................. 42
Figure 37: Path-4 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 43
Figure 38: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-4 ................................................................. 44
Figure 39: Path-5 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 45
Figure 40: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-5 ................................................................. 46
Figure 41: Path-6 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 47
Figure 42: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-6 ................................................................. 48
Figure 43: Path-7 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 49
Figure 44: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-7 ................................................................. 50
Figure 45: Path-8 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 51
Figure 46: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-8 ................................................................. 52
Figure 47: Path-9 plot on geometry ............................................................................................................ 53
Figure 48: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-9 ................................................................. 54
Figure 49: Path-10 plot on geometry .......................................................................................................... 55
Figure 50: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-10 ............................................................... 56
Figure 51: Path-11 plot on geometry .......................................................................................................... 57
Figure 52: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-11 ............................................................... 58
Figure 53: Path-12 plot on geometry .......................................................................................................... 59
Figure 54: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-12 ............................................................... 60
Figure 55: Path-13 plot on geometry .......................................................................................................... 61
Figure 56: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-13 ............................................................... 62
Figure 57: Path-14 plot on geometry .......................................................................................................... 63
Figure 58: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-14 ............................................................... 64
Figure 59: Additional paths created near the stress singularity region ...................................................... 65
Figure 60: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-15 ............................................................... 66
Figure 61: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-16 ............................................................... 67
Figure 62: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-17 ............................................................... 68

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Figure 63: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-18 ............................................................... 69
Figure 64: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-19 ............................................................... 70
Figure 65: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-20 ............................................................... 71
Figure 66: Design Variables ......................................................................................................................... 75
Figure 67: Response of the Pressure Vessel Model .................................................................................... 78
Figure 68: Design Space .............................................................................................................................. 79
Figure 69: Membrane Stress Contours ....................................................................................................... 80
Figure 70: Membrane Plus Bending Stress Contours ................................................................................. 80
Figure 71: Objective function(Volume) vs shell thickness .......................................................................... 81
Figure 72: Objective function(Volume) vs flange thickness........................................................................ 81
Figure 73: Integration Flow Chart ............................................................................................................... 86
Figure 74: fmincon run-1 iterations ............................................................................................................ 88
Figure 75: Plot functions for fmincon run-1................................................................................................ 88
Figure 76: fmincon run-2 iterations ............................................................................................................ 89
Figure 77: Plot Functions for fmincon run-2 ............................................................................................... 90
Figure 78: fmincon run-3 iterations ............................................................................................................ 91
Figure 79: Plot Functions for fmincon run-3 ............................................................................................... 92
Figure 80: fmincon run-4 iterations ............................................................................................................ 93
Figure 81: Plot functions for fmincon run-4................................................................................................ 93
Figure 82: fmincon run-5 iterations ............................................................................................................ 94
Figure 83: fmincon run-6 iterations ............................................................................................................ 95
Figure 84: Plot functions for fmincon run-6................................................................................................ 96
Figure 85: fmincon run-7 iterations ............................................................................................................ 97
Figure 86: Plot Functions for fmincon run-7 ............................................................................................... 98
Figure 87: fmincon run-8 iterations ............................................................................................................ 99
Figure 88: Plot Functions for fmincon run-8 ............................................................................................... 99

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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Chemical composition % of steel grade S30408 --------------------------------------------------------------- 9
Table 2: Design Stress Intensity of Material at different Temperatures -------------------------------------------- 9
Table 3: Material of the main pressure-bearing components of the pressure vessel --------------------------- 9
Table 4: Mechanical Properties of the Material -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9
Table 5: Mesh Convergence Results ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 26
Table 6: Stress Limits as per the ASME code------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 34
Table 7: Design Conditions for Pressure Vessel Equipment----------------------------------------------------------- 35
Table 8: Path-1 Evaluation ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 37
Table 9: ANSYS Path-1 Linearized Results --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 38
Table 10: Path-2 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 39
Table 11: ANSYS Path-2 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 40
Table 12: Path-3 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 41
Table 13: ANSYS Path-3 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 42
Table 14: Path-4 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 43
Table 15: ANSYS Path-4 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 44
Table 16: Path-5 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 45
Table 17: ANSYS Path-5 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 46
Table 18: Path-6 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 47
Table 19: ANSYS Path-6 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 48
Table 20: Path-7 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 49
Table 21: ANSYS Path-7 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 50
Table 22: Path-8 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 51
Table 23: ANSYS Path-8 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 52
Table 24: Path-9 Evaluation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 53
Table 25: ANSYS Path-9 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 54
Table 26: Path-10 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 55
Table 27: ANSYS Path-10 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 56
Table 28: Path-11 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 57
Table 29: ANSYS Path-11 Linearized Results: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 58
Table 30: Path-12 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 59

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Table 31: ANSYS Path-12 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 60
Table 32: Path-13 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 61
Table 33: ANSYS Path-13 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 62
Table 34: Path-14 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 63
Table 35: ANSYS Path-14 Linearized Results ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 64
Table 36: Path-15 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 66
Table 37: Path-16 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 67
Table 38: Path-17 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 68
Table 39: Path-18 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 69
Table 40: Path-19 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 70
Table 41: Path-20 Evaluation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 71
Table 42: Stress Verification -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 72
Table 43: fmincon Optimization Options ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 82
Table 44: fmincon Optimization Convergence for different step tolerance limits ---------------------------- 100
Table 45: Optimization Results Summary ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 100

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction to Optimization


Optimization in general can be defined as the act of finding the best feasible solution with the
most cost effective or highest achievable performance under the given constraints, by maximizing
desired factors and minimizing undesired ones. The increased demand to cut down the production
and manufacturing costs in the industries have encouraged engineers to use more robust decision
making technique such as optimization. In any optimization problem, we seek values of the design
parameters that minimize or maximize the objective while satisfying constraints.

Over a past few decades, the optimization techniques have found its applications in a wide variety
of industries such as automotive, aerospace, chemical, electrical and manufacturing industries.
Because of the advancement in computer technology, the complexity of a problem being solved
by optimization methods is no longer a concerned issue. Although this process can sometimes
be very time consuming, depending on the size and nature of problem in hand. With the advent
of computers, engineers can exploit and implement this procedure in practice. To fully realize the
power of computational Design Optimization, it is important to implement optimization methods
through pertinent computer-based mathematical tools.

1.2 MATLAB Optimization Tool


To conduct optimization for the pressure vessel model, we use MATLAB software. MATLAB is a
computational modeling and coding tool that is powerful, easy to use, and one that is widely
applied in engineering and other fields. MATLAB is used worldwide to optimize both simple and
complex systems or designs with effectiveness and efficiency. It provides a variety of inbuilt
optimization functions like fmincon, fminsearch, genetic algorithm, etc which uses search
algorithms that are executed iteratively by comparing various solutions till an optimum or a
satisfactory solution is found. It is entirely dependent on the analyst to choose an appropriate
optimization function which is computationally efficient and accurate for the design problem in
hand. In this thesis work, we will restrict the analysis to fmincon function only. FMINCON is a
MatLab inbuilt nonlinear solver for optimization. It has proved to be a suitable tool to solve many
optimization problems in the mechanical engineering field.

1.3 Finite Element Analysis using ANSYS


A completely accurate representation of the physical model may lead to an extremely complex
mathematical model that may be hard to solve with the available hardware and software
resources. For this reason, we use a finite element model which is a mathematical representation
of a real-life component or system that is being analyzed. FEA consists of three main steps: Pre-
processing, solution and post-processing. Often in the engineering world, the structural analysis

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is carried out using the Finite Elements Method. In this method, the physical model is discretized
into several small and simple parts called ‘finite elements’. The simple equations that model these
finite elements are then assembled into a larger system of equations that models the entire
problem. Finite elements are employed to determine the deformation and stresses in a structure
subjected to loads and boundary conditions. Mathematically it may be considered as a numerical
tool to analyze problems governed by partial differential equations that describe the behavior of
the system being studied.

There are a lot of commercial finite element analysis software available in the market such as
ANSYS, ABAQUS, ALTAIR HYPERWORK, NASTRAN, etc. In the present work, ‘ANSYS v17.0’
was used for finite element analysis of the pressure vessel model. ANSYS is one of the most
powerful engineering analysis software. It is widely used in the engineering industries to perform
finite element analysis, structural analysis, computational fluid dynamics, and heat transfer. This
computer simulation product provides finite elements to model behavior, and supports material
models and equation solvers for a wide range of mechanical design problems.

The finite element model of the pressure vessel was created using three dimensional solid
elements. An APDL (ANSYS Parametric Design Language) script file was written to automate the
pre-processing, solution and post-processing phase in ANSYS. The obtained stress intensity
results were linearized along 20 different stress classification lines(SCL/paths) to extract the
membrane and membrane plus bending stress generated in the different components of the
pressure vessel like nozzles, flanges cylindrical vessel body and the vessel head. These stresses
are then classified as primary or secondary, depending on the influence from stress singularity
region. Finally, both primary and secondary membrane and membrane plus bending stresses are
compared against their respective ASME code limits.

1.4 Objective and Approach


The main objective of this thesis work is to minimize the total weight of a Pressure vessel
subjected to stress constraints specified by the ASME ‘Design by Analysis of Boiler and Pressure
Vessel’ code limits. This is achieved by using FEA results obtained from ANSYS in conjunction
with MATLAB fmincon optimization solver for the sole purpose of minimizing the objective. Solving
complex design problems by integrating robust optimization tools like MATLAB with powerful FEA
softwares such as ANSYS has opened a new door in the field of design optimization. Optimization
methods, combined with more detailed and accurate simulation methods can improve the
experimental process of conceptual and detailed design of engineering systems.

2
Finite Element Analysis of the pressure vessel model is executed through MATLAB by running
ANSYS script file in Batch mode. The post-processing results such as total volume of the
equipment, deformation, von-mises stress and linearized membrane and membrane plus bending
stresses are stored in a text file. Objective function and constraints are defined in MATLAB by
extracting appropriate data from this result file generated by ANSYS. The volume data gives the
value of the objective function, whereas the linearized stress results which are verified against
their ASME allowable values, forms the constraint. Finally, the MATLAB optimization algorithm
evaluates the objective function iteratively by comparing various solutions till an optimum design
is found. The proposed methodology is completely automated and does not require any kind of
user intervention until the optimal solution is found.

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE SURVEY

2.1 History
In the industrial sector, the pressure vessels are used as storage tanks, diving cylinder,
recompression chamber, distillation towers, autoclaves and many other vessels in mining or oil
refineries and petrochemical plants, nuclear reactor vessel, habitat of a space ship, habitat of a
submarine, pneumatic reservoir, hydraulic reservoir under pressure, rail vehicle airbrake
reservoir, road vehicle airbrake reservoir and storage vessels for liquefied gases. The design
analysis of pressure vessels is an important and practical topic which has been investigated for
decades. Even though optimization techniques have been extensively applied to design
structures in general, very few pieces of work can be found which are directly related to
optimization of pressure vessels by interfacing different software packages like MATLAB and
ANSYS. These few references include the design optimization of homogeneous as well as
composite pressure vessels with different optimization methods.

2.2 Literature Review


In the paper 'Integration of MATLAB and ANSYS for Advanced Analysis of Vehicle Structures',
A.Gauchia and B.L.Boada has explained the optimization of a complex bus structure in weight
and stiffness by means of coupling MATLAB and ANSYS. For the optimization loop analyzed in
this study the genetic algorithm toolbox has been employed, having shown to be a very useful
tool. A reduction of 4% of the weight was achieved while improving the torsion stiffness in 0,23%.
Prior to this optimization, a sensitivity analysis was carried out in order to apply the optimization
loop on certain beams more sensitive to variations in weight and torsion stiffness. [1]

3
In the work by Levi B. de Albuquerque and Miguel Mattar Neto, design criteria were developed to
preclude the various pressure vessel failure modes through the so-called "Design by Analysis"
method. In the "Design by Analysis" approach, also used in Section VIII, Division 2 of the Code,
the design limits were established in correspondence to each failure mode. A typical Pressurized
Water Reactor (PWR) nozzle to pressure vessel connection subjected to internal pressure and
concentrated loads was modeled with 3D solid finite elements in linear elastic and limit load
analyses. Using some stress categorization approaches, the results from linear elastic and limit
load analyses were compared to each other and also with results obtained by formulae for simple
shell geometries. Based on the result comparison, some conclusions and recommendations on
the type of finite element analysis (linear elastic or limit load) and on the stress categorization
were addressed for the studied cases. [2]

The research conducted by Carlos A. de J. Miranda, Altair A. Faloppa, Miguel Mattar Neto and
Gerson Fainer shows a discussion on how to perform the stress verifications based on a generic
geometry found in many plants, from petrochemical to nuclear. In this study, the author discusses
the nuclear piping analysis with a non-standard item when the item should be modeled as a 3D
solid with its verification done per the Sub-section NB 3300 of the ASME Code. Only the primary
stresses due to the internal pressure were considered since the scope of the work was to
emphasize some of the issues that arise from the stress classification and linearization in
discontinuities, which are common in the nuclear area. Along with the modeling, analysis and
verification a discussion on how to perform the Code verifications was presented, pointing some
differences between the present(simplified) analysis, just one load – pressure, and an actual one,
with several applied loads. [3]

The research paper by R. Carbonari, P Munoz-Rojas discuses shape optimization of


axisymmetric pressure vessels considering an integrated approach in which the entire pressure
vessel model is used in conjunction with a multi-objective function that aims to minimize the von-
Mises mechanical stress from nozzle to head. Representative examples are examined and
solutions obtained for the entire vessel considering temperature and pressure loading [4].

The paper submitted on 'Design & Weight Optimization of Pressure Vessel Due to Thickness
Using Finite Element Analysis' by Vishal V.Saidpatil and Arun S.Thakare explains the detailed
design & analysis of Pressure vessel used in boiler for optimum thickness, temperature
distribution and dynamic behavior using ANSYS. Their work involves design of a cylindrical

4
pressure vessel to sustain 5 bar pressure and determine the wall thickness required for the vessel
to limit the maximum shear stress [5].

Sulaiman Hassan and Kavi Kumar considered a metaheuristic approach to optimize the pressure
vessel design. The work parameters such as thickness of the shell, and dish end, length and
radius of the pressure vessel were optimized by making use of Ant colony optimization (ACO)
Algorithm. They found that the results obtained from ACO are better as its search is for global
optimum as against the local optimum in traditional search methods [6].

K. Sahitya Raju and Dr. S. Srinivas Rao conducted Design optimization of a composite cylindrical
pressure vessel using FEA. In this work, design analysis of fiber reinforced multi layered
composite shell, with optimum fiber orientations; minimum mass under strength constraints for a
cylinder under axial loading for static and buckling analysis on the pressure vessel has been
studied. It involves the comparison of conventional steel and Composite material cylindrical
pressure vessel under static loading conditions. [7].

A very few research is found that directly relates to the optimization of pressure vessel by
interfacing FEA software with an optimization tool. Many other researches found including
analytical, experimental and numerical investigations have been devoted to the design
optimization of head and nozzle connections in pressure vessels subjected to different external
loadings.

CHAPTER 3: Finite Element Analysis of the pressure vessel

3.1 Modelling of cylindrical pressure vessel


An ANSYS command file was written based on the design data of a real-world pressure vessel
equipment provided by the ‘Design Institute of Chemical Machinery’, Zhejiang University. This
script file is executed in ANSYS APDL v17.0 to generate the geometrical entities such as
keypoints, lines, areas and volumes. The ANSYS model as shown in figure-1 below, represents
an axisymmetric cylindrical pressure vessel used in chemical industries, that is approximately 6
meter-long and 2 meter-wide, with elliptical heads and four rectangular nozzles supported by the
flange. Due to symmetry of the vessel along the z-plane, we consider only half model for our
analysis. This saves a lot of computational time during the FEA as well as during the optimization
process. A full model displayed in figure-2 can be used for FEA, in case, when large amount of
memory(RAM) along with sufficient hardware and software resources are available, or when the
computational time is not an issue.

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Figure 1: Pressure Vessel half-model Figure 2: Pressure Vessel full-model

As shown in figure-4, the geometry of the pressure vessel is defined based on the parameters
such as shell radius, shell height, shell thickness, head height etc. A quarter model is created by
rotating the cross-sectional area of the pressure vessel by 180 degrees about the y-axis.
Symmetricity of the structure was fully exploited by mirroring the volumes created in the quarter
model about the x-z plane to generate half model (figure-1). Nozzle and flange supports were
created with the help of ANSYS pre-processing functions like extrude and volume delete. The
sharp corners on nozzle edges and on flange edges have been filleted to reduce the stress
concentration around these corners. Note that, the lateral nozzle openings are longer than the
medial nozzle openings. The complete structure was subdivided into volume blocks to satisfy the
conditions of hexa-meshing to generate brick elements throughout the model. One more reason
to divide the volume blocks is to apply constraints in some specified location of the geometry.

6
The main Pressure bearing components of this pressure vessel equipment are shown in figure-3
below.

Figure 3:Main Components of the Pressure Vessel Equipment

7
Figure 4: Cross-sectional area of the vessel Figure 5: Rotating cross-sectional area to generate
the vessel volume

3.2 Material Properties and Element Type


Steel alloy ‘S30408’ standard ‘GB24511’ is the material used to create the pressure vessel
equipment. In general, this material is extensively used in Chinese steel industries to produce
products such as steel oils, sheets, plates, round bars, steel wires, pipes, forgings etc. GB
standards are the Chinese national standards issued by the Standardization Administration of
China (SAC), the Chinese National Committee of the ISO and the IEC. This Chinese standard
specifies classification and designation, dimensions, shapes and tolerances, technical
requirements, test methods, inspection rules, package, marks and product quality certificates of
Stainless steel plate, sheet and strip for pressure equipments. This standard applies to width of
not less than 600mm of pressure equipment with hot-rolled, cold-rolled stainless steel sheet and

8
strip. The chemical composition of this steel alloy is displayed below in table 1. The design stress
intensity of the materials at different temperatures is shown in Table 2. The material of the main
pressure-bearing components of this equipment is shown in Table 3 and the mechanical
properties are presented in Table 4.

Table 1: Chemical composition % of steel grade S30408

Table 2: Design Stress Intensity of Material at different Temperatures

Normal
Design Stress(MPa) at different
Thickness Temperature
Steel Type Standard Temperatures (℃)
(mm) Strength (MPa)
Rm R el <20 100 150 200 250 300

Steel 520 205 137 137 137 130 122 114


S30408 GB 24511 1.5~80
Plate 520 205 137 114 103 96 90 85
Steel
S3408 GB 13296 ≤13 520 205 137 137 137 130 122 114
Pipe

Table 3: Material of the main pressure-bearing components of the pressure vessel

S.No Pressure Vessel Component Material Standard


1 Case S30408 GB 24511
2 Forming Head S30408 GB 24511
3 Support Q235A/S3408 GB/T3274{GB150.2} / GB 24511
4 Flange S30408 GB 24511

Table 4: Mechanical Properties of the Material

PROPERTY VALUE
Young’s Modulus 200 GPa
Poisson’s Ratio 0.3
Density 7.9e-6 𝐾𝑔/𝑚𝑚3
Yield Strength 345 MPa

9
In ANSYS software, the user can select from over 100 different element types to construct their
model. Solid95 20-nodes hexahedral/brick element was used for finite element analysis of the
pressure vessel model. As shown in figure-6 below, Solid95 is a 3-dimensional solid element. It
can tolerate irregular shapes without as much loss of accuracy. Solid95 elements have compatible
displacement shapes and are well suited to model curved boundaries. The hexahedral/Brick
element is defined by 20 nodes (including mid-nodes) whereas the tetrahedral element consists
of 10 nodes (including mid-node). Each node has three degrees of freedom: translations in the
nodal x, y, and z directions. Therefore, each brick element consists of 60 DOF. The element may
have any spatial orientation. The element has plasticity, creep, stress stiffening, large deflection,
and large strain capabilities.

Figure 6: SOLID95 3-D 20-Node Structural Solid

3.2.1 SOLID95 Assumptions and Restrictions:


 The element must not have a zero volume.

 The element may not be twisted such that the element has two separate volumes.
This occurs most frequently when the element is not numbered properly.

 Elements may be numbered either as shown in figure above: SOLID95 Geometry or


may have the planes IJKL and MNOP interchanged.

10
 An edge with a removed midside node implies that the displacement varies linearly,
rather than parabolically, along that edge.

 Degeneration to the form of pyramid should be used with caution. The element sizes,
when degenerated, should be small to minimize the stress gradients.

3.3 Boundary Conditions


Three different boundary conditions are imposed on the design model:

1) Symmetry boundary condition is applied to the structural symmetry plane (all area at Z=0).

2) Fixed support in X-axis and Y-axis on the position of one bearing. (fig-8)

3) Fixed support in X-axis on the position of another bearing. (fig-9)

Figure 7: Symmetry constraint on the z-plane

11
Figure 8: Fixed support on the position of 1st bearing

12
Figure 9: Constraint along X-axis on the position of 2nd bearing

13
3.4 Loadings
Seven different loadings conditions are applied on the pressure vessel model:

1) Acceleration due to gravity along X-axis. (figure-10)


2) Internal pressure of 0.2 MPa. (figure-11)
3) The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface (surface near the cylinder) of the two
lateral flanges. (figure-12)
4) The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface (surface far away from the cylinder)
of the two lateral flanges. (figure-13)
5) The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface (surface near the cylinder) of the two
inner flanges. (figure-14)
6) The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface (surface far away from the cylinder)
of the two inner flanges. (figure-15)
7) The pull on the cross section of the two end nozzles. (figure-16)

3.4.1 Gravity along X-axis


Gravity in negative X-axis, -9.8 m/s2 (So it is acceleration in forward of X-axis, 9.8)

Figure 10: Acceleration due to gravity

14
3.4.2 Internal Pressure
The Pressure Vessel holds an internal pressure of 0.2 MPa.

Figure 11: Internal Pressure of 0.2 MPa

15
3.4.3 The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two lateral
flanges
The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface (near the cylinder) of the two lateral flanges.
On one flange, the total force is 193623 N, the area is 78100 mm2, the pressure is 2.479162149
MPa.

Figure 12: Bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two lateral flanges

16
3.4.4 The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two lateral
flanges
The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface (far away from the cylinder) of the two lateral
flanges. On one flange, the total force is 19397 N, the area is 78100 mm2, the pressure is
0.2483645393 MPa.

Figure 13: Bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two lateral flanges

17
3.4.5 The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two inner flanges
The average bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface (near the cylinder) of the two inner flanges.
On one flange, the total force is 143408 N, the area is 67740 mm2, the pressure is 2.117037053
MPa.

Figure 14: Bolt pressure on the lower bolt surface of the two inner flanges

18
3.4.6 The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two inner flanges
The average bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface (far away from the cylinder) of the two inner
flanges. On one flange, the total force is 19400 N, the area is 67740 mm2, the pressure is
0.2863877948 MPa.

Figure 15: Bolt pressure on the upper bolt surface of the two inner flanges

19
3.4.7 The pull on the cross section of the two end nozzles
The pull on the cross section of the two end nozzles (Compensate for the gas pressure on the
cross section). On one nozzle, the total force is -40856 N, the area is 16336 mm2, the pressure
is -2.500961538 MPa.

Figure 16: The pull on the cross section of the two end nozzles

20
3.5 Meshing
Meshing is one of the most important aspect of finite element analysis. The accuracy of the FEA
results predominantly depends on the mesh size and element quality. The larger the density of
meshing, the greater is the accuracy of the geometry and greater is the difficulty in solving the
problems. Therefore, a preferred meshing approach is to employ fine meshes only in the area of
focus whereas larger meshes should be used in the region where we expect relatively low activity.
The pattern and relative positioning of the nodes also affect the solution, the computational
efficiency & time. This is why good meshing is very essential for a sound computer simulation to
give good results.

For the pressure vessel model, besides four volume block, the entire model was meshed with 20-
node Brick elements. Since these four volumes does not meet the hexa-meshing criteria, they
were meshed with 10-node tetrahedral elements. The ANSYS software automatically uses
pyramid elements as filler elements in between the mesh transition zones. The Hexahedral
meshed model of the pressure vessel used during optimization is shown below in figure-19.

3.5.1 Tetrahedral Mesh VS Hexahedral Mesh


Unlike tetrahedron meshing that can be performed on nearly any geometry, hex meshing (Brick
elements) requires a certain amount of topology cleaning and decomposition to achieve an all or
nearly all brick mesh. This type of meshing is generally preferred when less nodes and elements
are required but need to achieve high solution accuracy. A brick meshed model can save orders
of magnitudes of CPU time and require significantly less RAM and disk space over an all
tetrahedron mesh with often better accuracy. But the downside of Brick meshing or a hexahedral
mesh is that it is very difficult to generate for a complex geometry because it requires map
meshable sides to sweep through the volume.

The figure-17 displayed below shows a tetra mesh of the pressure vessel model. Ten node
tetrahedral elements were used to produce the tetra mesh model. For free meshing, a smart sizing
level-2 was set to obtain a very fine mesh with better element quality. Whereas, a hexa-mesh
model was produced by sweep meshing the volumes. The total vessel volume was split into
different blocks for more control and to meet topology requirement of map meshable sides. The
element sizes generated on swept volume were defined by assigning line divisions, taking into
account curvature of the line, its proximity to holes, element order and other features. Below
mentioned guideline was followed to achieve the volume sweep.

21
1. The source and target faces for all sweepable bodies are automatically detected by the
ANSYS software. If desired, the user can specify the source/target faces manually.
2. All source/target face topology needs to be same for all sources/targets.
3. All side faces need to be able to be mapped meshed.

It is evident from the figures below, that the tetra meshed model contain eight times more
elements compared to the number of elements in brick meshed model. The stress results
obtained from both the meshes are more or less similar but the time taken to solve the tetra-
meshed model is about five times more when compared to the computational time taken to solve
the brick meshed model.

Figure 17: Tetra-meshed Model of the Pressure Vessel

22
Figure 18: Unaveraged Von-Mises Stress Contour for Tetra-meshed Model

Figure 19: Brick-meshed Model of the Pressure Vessel

23
Figure 20: Unaveraged Von-Mises Stress Contour for Hexa-meshed Model

3.5.2 Comparison between free mesh and controlled mesh


The figure 21 to 24 below displays the comparison between a free and a controlled brick mesh of
the pressure vessel model. During free mesh, line divisions are not considered and the software
automatically determines the size and number of elements generated through the swept volumes.
Whereas, the controlled mesh is created by specifying number of line divisions on the sweepable
faces of the model geometry to produce different element sizes on different components of the
pressure vessel. Latter is preferred as it gives more control over the mesh size and element
quality. Note that, the free mesh generated by ANSYS, has less number of elements when
compared to elements in controlled mesh model. Although controlled mesh increases the number
of brick elements, the computational time taken to solve this model in a 16GB RAM system is
approximately same when compared to the time taken to solve free mesh model. We also achieve
a high solution accuracy due to the increased number of elements. Hence, controlled brick
meshed model is preferred for the finite element analysis as well as during the optimization run.

24
Figure 21: Free mesh with Brick elements Figure 22: Controlled mesh with Brick elements

Figure 23: Stress Intensity for Free Hexahedral mesh Figure 24: Stress Intensity for Controlled Hexahedral mesh

3.5.3 Mesh Convergence and Stress Singularity

A mesh convergence study when performing Stress Analysis is necessary to instill confidence in
FEM results from the standpoint of mathematics. As we progressively refine the mesh, the size
of the elements reduces, which theoretically increases the solution accuracy and given enough
iterations it converges towards a specific result. If there is an analytical solution for the given
problem, the mesh refinement procedure will converge towards the exact solution. As mesh
elements decrease in size but increase in quantity, the computational requirements to solve a
given model increase. As mesh elements decrease in size, they reach a point of diminishing
returns on the level of accuracy compared to the computational overhead and time required to
compute the result. This means that a simulation requires much more time to compute the results,
but the result may change by an insignificant value. Hence, to overcome this problem, mesh

25
convergence study is performed to determine a mesh with minimum number of elements required
to maintain a satisfactorily balance between accuracy and computing resources.

However, as shown in table-5 and figure-25 below, the mesh convergence study when applied to
the 20-node brick meshed pressure vessel model resulted in non-convergence. The stress
solution does not converge with mesh refinement because of the stress singularity present at the
joint corner of cylindrical shell body and nozzle. A stress singularity is a point of the mesh where
the stress does not convergence towards a specific value. As we keep refining the mesh, the
stress at this point keeps on increasing. Theoretically, the stress at the singularity is infinite.
Typical situations where stress singularities occur are the appliance of a point load, sharp re-
entrant corners, corners of bodies in contact and point restraints. These singularities occurs often
in pressure vessel and boiler designs is practically unavoidable.

Since the pressure vessel model is analyzed as whole structure, the stress singularity at the
filleted corner is of importance. The mesh around this region is refined locally to capture the effects
of high stress concentration. Despite of removing sharp re-entrant edges by filleting the corners,
the stress concentration around these corners increases with increase in the elements. However,
displacement solution does converge to a value of 1.56 mm. Through path operations for critical
stress concentration lines at stress singularity region, we can predict probable value of true stress
at the elements near this singularity. While running the optimization loop, mesh density of the
pressure vessel model was kept fixed and the stresses evaluated near the singularity were
verified against the allowable local stress limits. The path operations and stress limits are
discussed in the next chapter. The figures 26-30 displayed below, shows the increase in
maximum local unaveraged von-mises stress with the increase in number of elements at the
corner of the nozzle and shell body joint.

Table 5: Mesh Convergence Results

Maximum unaveraged Von-


No. of Elements
Mises Stress (MPa)
66686 325.76
95363 339.37
110604 381.94
143492 437.58
170770 449.09

26
Figure 25: Mesh Convergence Plot

Figure 26: Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress

27
Figure 27: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-1

Figure 28: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-2

28
Figure 29: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-3

Figure 30: Increase in Maximum Local Unaveraged Von-Mises stress for mesh refinement-4

29
CHAPTER 4: Stress Analysis and Verification

4.1 Introduction to ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel – Verification Code


Relevant Codes of Practice, Industry Standard and/or Statement of Assessment Criteria:
ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Rules for Construction of Pressure
Vessels, Division 2

Boilers and pressure vessels are used worldwide in various industries. They are naturally present
in the power engineering and gas engineering sectors. In order to ensure the safety and
operational efficiency of these vessels, necessary legal regulations have been developed by the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). These regulations constitute the basis for
design and manufacture of these equipments.

One of the most important goal in a pressure vessel design is to assure safe and satisfactory
performance of the vessel. The ASME pressure vessel code is based on the observed safety of
vessels. The observations were turned into design rules and the vessels became safer through
their efforts. It is a real world working standard – its roots were born of failed vessels and dead
operators in an era long before concepts like stress concentrations were even known.

The ASME ‘Design by analysis’ code, particularly in its Section VIII division-2, has specific
requirements on how to assess the results from the stress analyses to make the necessary
verifications to avoid failure. They wrote the VIII-2 rules and developed the stress linearization
method as a guideline to check for the safe design. This division covers the mandatory
requirements, specific prohibitions and nonmandatory guidance for materials, design, fabrication,
inspection and testing, markings and reports, overpressure protection and certification of pressure
vessels having an internal or external pressure which exceeds 103 KPa. These requirements
apply to those equipments which are part of the pressure boundary for example valves, pumps,
pressure vessels, piping, etc. In this work, only the maximum allowable stress verifications were
made as per the ASME code. Stress linearization method was implemented to verify the design
of pressure vessel equipment under study. The details of the ASME codes are not included in this
report. The reader is encouraged to the read the ASME related reference material mentioned at
the end of this report.

4.2 Stress Linearization


Generally, the prototypes and models used in the analyses are developed with 2D plane or 3D
solid finite elements, and membrane and bending stresses cannot be evaluated directly from the
FEA results for these types of elements. Due to this fact, no direct comparison with the code limits

30
can be done and, besides that, the commercial finite element software’s like ALTAIR, ANSYS,
ABAQUAS, etc do not distinguish between primary and secondary stresses. Therefore, to
implement the required ASME Pressure Vessel and Boiler Code stress verifications for our finite
element model, we should perform stress linearization to extract the membrane and bending
stresses from the 3D solid model and, also, should classify these stress components as primary
and secondary for the purpose of stress verification against the ASME allowable limits.

Linearization is a decomposition of the stress distribution we see in FEA of pressure vessels. It


decomposes a basically parabolic distribution into a uniform value (membrane stress), a linearly
varying value (bending stress), and possibly an extra component (peak stress). The stress
linearization is performed along a stress classification line. The stress classification line (SCL) are
created to linearize the stresses along a line, usually cutting through the thickness of the
component. A Stress Classification Line or SCL is a straight line defined by two nodes/points,
usually more or less perpendicular to both the inside and outside surfaces. Stress components
through the section/SCL are linearized by a line integral method and are separated into constant
membrane stresses, bending stresses varying linearly between end points, and peak stresses
(defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum principal stress). The stress
linearization tool takes the nodal data for the complex stress pattern found along this line and
breaks it down into membrane and bending stress components.

Stress Linearization is used to comply with design codes and requirements of the pressure vessel
industry. However, applicability of the utility is not limited to pressure vessels. You can use this
method to graph local stress tensors along a linear path and/or to determine the relative
contributions of bending and membrane stress for any type of structure. Stress linearization is not
required in the models with beam or shell elements because these elements naturally give the
stresses separated in membrane and bending components.

Note:
 Stress linearization is available for brick, tetrahedral, plate, shell, and 2D elements, with or
without mid-side nodes.

 Stress linearization is available for all linear and nonlinear analysis types that produce stress
results.

 Stress Classification lines are created as paths in ANSYS.

31
4.3 Stress Classification
The purpose of stress classification is to identify the Primary(P) and the Secondary(Q) stresses.
Primary stresses are defined as the stresses developed by an imposed loading that is necessary
to satisfy the laws of equilibrium in terms of the external and internal forces and moments.
Secondary stresses are the stresses that are developed by constraints due to geometrical
discontinuities and self-constraint. The classification of stresses into primary and secondary
categories separates the issues regarding overall strength, which is of primary importance and
therefore referred to the realm of primary stresses, from the issues of local behavior, which is of
secondary importance and therefore referred to the realm of secondary stresses.

It should be acknowledged that different kinds of stress have different degrees of significance and
thus should have different safety implications. For example, the objective of primary stress limits
is to prevent the loss of load-carrying capacity of the vessel, which is referred to as collapse
whereas type of failure that a secondary stress may cause is ratcheting or incremental collapse.
Hence, it is necessary to classify the stresses into different categories. The stress categories of
interest for the design analysis of our pressure vessel model are the primary stress, and its
subcategories of general and local primary membrane and bending stress, and the secondary
stresses. The peak stress is related to the assessment of fatigue failure of the material and will
not be used in our analysis.

For design purposes, the primary membrane stress is further divided into general primary
membrane stress and local primary membrane stress subcategories. The average value acting
on the whole section/line that is equivalent to the net force acting in the section due to the actual
stress distribution will be classified as Pm or PL depending on the distance of the section from the
discontinuity: Pm for those far sections and PL otherwise. This PL classification is justified because
there is a secondary ‘aspect’ in this stress near a discontinuity even if it comes from a mechanical
load.

The maximum value of the linear stress distribution which produces a net bending moment
equivalent to the moment produced by the actual stress distribution is called ‘bending stress’ Pb .
For mechanical loads, if the section is near a discontinuity this stress component is classified as
secondary, ‘Q’. The difference between the actual stress distribution and the sum of the average
and linear (membrane + bending) stress distributions give an equilibrated stress distribution.

Pm – Generalized Primary Membrane Stress

32
PL – Localized Primary Membrane Stress

Pb – Primary Bending Stress

F – Peak Stress

Q – Secondary Stresses

These steps, the stress classification and the stress linearization, are not straightforward ones
and needs some ‘engineering’ judgment to choose the right section to evaluate the stresses in
discontinuities. This task, most of the time is not a simple one due to the nature of the involved
load and/or the complex geometry under analysis. In fact, there are several studies discussing on
how to perform these stress classification and linearization.

4.4 Design Limits and Verifications


ASME Section VIII-2 provides a guide to what the maximum stresses are allowed for different
locations of the pressure vessel. The combination of this ASME code and the output from the
stress linearization and classification tool is used to produce pass fail judgments on the pressure
vessel model. This will form the basis of constraint function in the optimization process.

As the ASME limits are developed aiming to prevent some typical failure modes besides the
Primary and Secondary classification, the stresses should be linearized to obtain the generalized
(Pm ) or localized (PL ) membrane component, the bending (Pb ) and the Peak (F) stress. Because
different modes of failure are associated with primary membrane, primary bending and secondary
stress, different allowable values are defined for each category. These are not given as absolute
values in the pressure vessel codes, but as a proportion of the basic allowable stress intensity of
the material (Sm) at design/working temperature. For the pressure vessel model in hand, standard
steel S30408 was used, which has a basic allowable stress intensity value of 137 MPa at the
working temperature of 20°C - 150°C.

Five Basic Stress Categories used for code verification are:


1) General Primary Membrane Stress Intensity (Pm)
2) Local Primary Membrane Stress Intensity (PL)
3) Primary Membrane Plus Primary Bending Stress (PL + Pb) – either General or Local
Membrane Stress

33
4) Primary Plus Secondary Stress Intensity (PL + Pb + Q)
5) Peak Stress Intensity (PL + Pb + Q + F)

According to the ASME code, the maximum allowable stress limits for the pressure vessel model
in consideration are shown below:
Table 6: Stress Limits as per the ASME code

Design Stress Intensity (Sm): Basic allowable stress intensity of the material at design/working
temperature. Typically, the lesser of 2/3 the Yield Stress (YS) or 1/3 of the Ultimate Tensile Stress
(UTS).

Pm ≤ Sm = 137 MPa

PL ≤ 1.5×Sm = 205.5 MPa

PL + Pb ≤ 1.5×Sm = 205.5 MPa

PL + Pb + Q ≤ 3×Sm = 411 MPa

The above indicated limits along with the equipment operating conditions shown in table-7 are
the so-called Design Condition. When the Operational Conditions are verified the pressure and
temperature are lower, but the earthquake should be considered, the limits are slightly different
as well as the Sm value (which depends on the temperature).

34
Primary generalized membrane stresses are not allowed to exceed the basic allowable stress
Sm, otherwise there is the possibility of a catastrophic plastic collapse e.g. a burst under pressure.
For the primary localized membrane stress, a margin of safety is included by specifying an
allowable membrane stress of 1.5×Sm. The total primary (membrane plus bending) allowable
stress has an allowable limit of 1.5×Sm. Secondary stress can comfortably exceed the material
allowable limit but must be limited to ensure shakedown under cyclic load. Hence the range of
secondary stress is limited to 3×Sm. Local stresses around nozzles or transitions could be higher
than global stresses – sometimes 2x as high, depending on the location and cause.

Table 7: Design Conditions for Pressure Vessel Equipment

medium Wet air

Design pressure (MPa) 0.2

Design temperature (°C) 110

Working pressure (MPa) ≤ 0.2

Working temperature (°C) 95

Hydraulic test pressure (MPa) 0.25

Corrosion allowance (mm) 0

Seismic fortification intensity 8-level (0.3 g)

Main pressure bearing Material S30408

4.5 ANSYS Stress Linearization Results


In its post-processor module, the ANSYS program can linearize the stresses along a given section
defined by two nodes –the SCL(Path). It linearizes all six stress components (SX, SY, SZ, SXY,
SYZ, SXZ). Also, the Tresca (SINT) and von Mises (SEQV) equivalent stresses are reported by
ANSYS software. To perform the linearization, the program considers 47 internal points along the
SCL. With this procedure, the Membrane (average), the Bending (linear), the Membrane ±
Bending, the Peak stress, the total stress, are calculated.

35
The stress linearization was performed on the nominal design of the pressure vessel model with
shell thickness of 10 mm and flange thickness of 16 mm. 20 sections or SCL were chosen to
linearize and classify the stresses, to cover all critical parts and regions in the analyzed geometry
of the pressure vessel, aiming to verify them against the Code limits. These sections are shown
in figures below where they are named PATH-X where X is the stress classification line number.
Using the ANSYS post processor, the linearized stresses along the defined classification lines
are extracted. The Tresca equivalent stress or the averaged stress intensity is used for
linearization. This is given directly by the software so it is not required to do the calculations
manually. The software first linearizes the stresses at a component level and then calculates the
equivalent stress on the results. The stresses are then classified as necessary and the linearized
stresses are checked against the allowable stress limits. Two elements throughout the shell of
the pressure vessel has been used during the linearization process.

It may be noted that the membrane plus bending plot is not linear across the section thickness for
some of the evaluations, depending on the stress location. However, the graphs shown are for
the equivalent stress intensity which due to the nature of its calculation will result in the contours
shown. ANSYS lists both the component linearized stresses and the calculated Tresca’s and von
Mises’ equivalent stress. The results are grouped by type, namely; membrane, bending,
membrane plus bending, peak and total. The tables below, list the linearization results for all the
20 stress classification lines defined in ANSYS. The maximum membrane and membrane plus
bending stress along all these paths are listed in the path evaluation table. For each path, the
table also shows the assigned stress categories, allowable and calculated stresses.

36
4.5.1 Path-1
This path is created along the thickness of the cylindrical shell where the shell body of the
pressure vessel connects to the Top-Head of the vessel. Since this path lies away from the
discontinuity, the average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this path
are classified as primary and hence checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 31: Path-1 plot on geometry

Table 8: Path-1 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
SII (PL ) 59.85 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
Conditions 137
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 73.26 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

37
Figure 32: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-1

Table 9: ANSYS Path-1 Linearized Results

38
4.5.2 Path-2
Path-2 is the path along cylindrical shell thickness at the corner where the shell body of the vessel
connects rectangular Nozzle-1. Due to singularity around the corner, the stresses linearized along
this path are influenced by the local stress concentration effect. As the result of this discontinuity,
the total membrane plus bending stress near this region also comprises of some secondary
stresses, which needs to be considered when comparing with the allowable limits. Thus, total
membrane plus bending stress in this region is the sum of primary stress ‘PL + Pb ’and secondary
stress ‘Q’. Due to the presence of this secondary stress component, the allowable limit for total
membrane plus bending stress along this path is set to three times the basic allowable limit ‘Sm’.

Figure 33: Path-2 plot on geometry

Table 10: Path-2 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 105.1 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 206.6 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

39
Figure 34: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-2

Table 11: ANSYS Path-2 Linearized Results

40
4.5.3 Path-3
Path-3 is the path along Rectangular Nozzle thickness at the corner where the pressure vessel
shell body connects rectangular Nozzle N-1. Since this path lies very close to the singularity at
corner, the secondary stresses need to be considered for this path. The total membrane plus
bending stress in this region is the sum of primary stress ‘PL + Pb ’and secondary stress ‘Q’.
Therefore, the allowable limit for total membrane plus bending stress along this path is three times
the basic allowable limit ‘Sm’.

Figure 35: Path-3 plot on geometry

Table 12: Path-3 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 157.1 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 235.0 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

41
Figure 36: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-3

Table 13: ANSYS Path-3 Linearized Results

42
4.5.4 Path-4
Path-4 is the path along the thickness of the rectangular Nozzle at the middle section where
cylindrical shell body of the vessel connects the Nozzle N-1. This path is far from the singularity.
The average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this path are classified
as primary and therefore, are checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 37: Path-4 plot on geometry

Table 14: Path-4 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
SII (PL ) 45.48 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
Conditions 137
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 59.05 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

43
Figure 38: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-4

Table 15: ANSYS Path-4 Linearized Results

44
4.5.5 Path-5
Path-5 is the path along the thickness of the rectangular Nozzle around the middle section where
cylindrical shell body of the vessel connects the upper side of Nozzle N-1. Since this path is far
from the singularity, the average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this
path are classified as primary and hence, checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 39: Path-5 plot on geometry

Table 16: Path-5 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 73.18 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 80.24 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

45
Figure 40: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-5

Table 17: ANSYS Path-5 Linearized Results

46
Now we repeat the above stated paths for smaller rectangular Nozzle N-2
4.5.6 Path-6
Path-6 is the path along cylindrical shell thickness at the corner where the shell body of the vessel
connects rectangular nozzle-2. Since this path is near the singularity at the corner, the membrane
plus bending stress consists of primary as well as secondary stress components. Due to presence
of this secondary stress component, the allowable limit for total membrane plus bending stress
along this path is 3×Sm.

Figure 41: Path-6 plot on geometry

Table 18: Path-6 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 61.36 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 128.2 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

47
Figure 42: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-6

Table 19: ANSYS Path-6 Linearized Results

48
4.5.7 Path-7
Path-7 is the path along Rectangular Nozzle thickness at the corner where shell body of the
pressure vessel connects smaller rectangular Nozzle N-2. Similar to the above described path-6,
this path also lies near the singularity and therefore the allowable limit for total membrane plus
bending stress along this path is 3×Sm.

Figure 43: Path-7 plot on geometry

Table 20: Path-7 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 109.5 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 169.1 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

49
Figure 44: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-7

Table 21: ANSYS Path-7 Linearized Results

50
4.5.8 Path-8
Path-8 is the path along the thickness of the rectangular Nozzle at the middle section where
cylindrical shell body of the vessel connects the Nozzle N-2. This path lies far away from the
singularity. The average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this path are
classified as primary and hence checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 45: Path-8 plot on geometry

Table 22: Path-8 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 16.72 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 26.88 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

51
Figure 46: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-8

Table 23: ANSYS Path-8 Linearized Results

52
4.5.9 Path-9
Path-9 is the path along the thickness of the rectangular Nozzle around the middle section where
cylindrical shell body of the vessel connects the upper side of nozzle N-2. Since this path lies far
from the singularity, the average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this
path are classified as primary and hence checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 47: Path-9 plot on geometry

Table 24: Path-9 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 44.89 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 54.67 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

53
Figure 48: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-9

Table 25: ANSYS Path-9 Linearized Results

54
4.5.10 Path-10
Path-10 is the path through cylindrical shell of the vessel, in the section between the N1 nozzle
and N2 nozzle. This path is remote from the singularity region. The stresses along this path are
classified as primary and checked against the 1.5×Sm limit. This main reason for evaluating
stresses along this path is to check the strength of cylindrical shell body of the pressure vessel.

Figure 49: Path-10 plot on geometry

Table 26: Path-10 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 7.97 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 57.81 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

55
Figure 50: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-10

Table 27: ANSYS Path-10 Linearized Results

56
4.5.11 Path-11
Path-11 is the path created through the N-1 nozzle thickness at the joint between the flange and
N-1 nozzle. The membrane stress intensity linearized along this path is classified as primary local
stress and thereby will be verified against the ASME local stress limits which is equal
to 1.5×Sm(Allowable stress). For design to be safe, the linearized membrane stress along this
path should be less than 1.5×Sm(Allowable stress).

Figure 51: Path-11 plot on geometry

Table 28: Path-11 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
SII (PL ) 46.34 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
Conditions 137
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 77.29 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

57
Figure 52: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-11

Table 29: ANSYS Path-11 Linearized Results:

58
4.5.12 Path-12
Path-12 is a path created through the flange thickness at the joint between the flange and N-1
nozzle. This path is constructed on the flange at nozzle N-1 to check the safe design of the flange
component at the nozzle opening. This path is far from the singularity. The average membrane
stress and membrane plus bending stress along this path are classified as primary and checked
against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 53: Path-12 plot on geometry

Table 30: Path-12 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
SII (PL ) 16.67 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
Conditions 137
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 47.77 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

59
Figure 54: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-12

Table 31: ANSYS Path-12 Linearized Results

60
4.5.13 Path-13
Path-13 is a path through the nozzle thickness at the joint between the flange and N-2 small
nozzle. This path is created on nozzle N-2. Similar to path-11, this path is also far from the
singularity. Thus, the average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this
path are classified as primary and hence checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 55: Path-13 plot on geometry

Table 32: Path-13 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 36.10 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 64.37 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

61
Figure 56: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-13

Table 33: ANSYS Path-13 Linearized Results

62
4.5.14 Path-14
Path-14 is a path through the flange thickness at the joint between the flange and N-2 small
nozzle. This path is constructed on the flange connected to nozzle N-2. This path lies far from the
singularity. The average membrane stress and membrane plus bending stress along this path are
classified as primary and hence checked against the 1.5×Sm limit.

Figure 57: Path-14 plot on geometry

Table 34: Path-14 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 10.39 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
SIII (PL + Pb ) 30.87 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
BENDING

63
Figure 58: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-14

Table 35: ANSYS Path-14 Linearized Results

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4.5.15 Paths-15,16,17,18,19 and 20
With stress linearization approach, it is preferred to have a stress classification line passing
through the stress singularity point in order to completely capture the effects of local stress
concentrations in this region. But, since our pressure vessel model contains filleted corner, we
cannot pin-point the exact location of the singularity. Thus, we cannot be assured whether the
paths path-2 and path-3 created above passes through the singularity. Hence, as a precautionary
measure and to ensure safe design of the pressure vessel, a few more paths were created around
the maximum stress region. Paths-15,17,19 were created through the thickness of the cylindrical
shell body of the vessel whereas Paths-16,18,20 were created through the thickness of Nozzle
N-1. The stress analysis results and verifications performed along these paths are shown below.
The linearized membrane plus bending stress along these paths are classified as secondary and
thereby will be verified against the ASME local stress limits which is equal to 3×Sm (Allowable
stress).

Figure 59: Additional paths created near the stress singularity region

65
Table 36: Path-15 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 96.24 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 198.1 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

Figure 60: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-15

66
Table 37: Path-16 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 158.1 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 240.1 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

Figure 61: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-16

67
Table 38: Path-17 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 129.5 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 227.7 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

Figure 62: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-17

68
Table 39: Path-18 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 151.1 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 225.1 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

Figure 63: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-18

69
Table 40: Path-19 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 78.53 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 174.3 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

Figure 64: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-19

70
Table 41: Path-20 Evaluation

Equivalent
Allowable ANSYS Stress
Load Stress Stress Control Evaluation
Stress 𝐒𝐦 linearization Type Classification
Condition Intensity Value Result
(MPa) of stress symbol
SINT (MPa)
SI (Pm ) N/A 1.0×Sm =137 N/A
Design MEMBRANE
Conditions 137 SII (PL ) 159.4 1.5×Sm =205.5 PASS
A MEMBRANE PLUS
𝑆𝐼𝑉 (𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ) 249.1 3×Sm =411 PASS
BENDING

Figure 65: Stress variation through the thickness along Path-20

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4.6 Summary of Stress Analysis Results
Table 42: Stress Verification

Stress Allowable Stress Calculated Stress


Path
Type Category (MPa) (MPa)
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 59.85
PATH-1
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 73.26
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 105.1
PATH-2
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 206.6
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 157.1
PATH-3
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 235.0
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 45.48
PATH-4
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 59.05
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 73.18
PATH-5
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 80.24
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 61.36
PATH-6
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 128.2
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 109.5
PATH-7
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 169.1
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 16.72
PATH-8
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 26.88
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 44.89
PATH-9
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 54.67
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 7.97
PATH-10
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 57.81
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 46.34
PATH-11
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 77.29
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 16.67
PATH-12
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 47.77
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 36.10
PATH-13
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 64.37
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 10.39
PATH-14
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 1.5×Sm 205.5 30.87
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 96.24
PATH-15
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 198.1
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 158.1
PATH-16
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 240.1
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 129.5
PATH-17
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 227.7
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 151.1
PATH-18
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 225.1
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 78.53
PATH-19
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 174.3
Membrane PL 1.5×Sm 205.5 159.4
PATH-20
Membrane Plus Bending 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 3×Sm 411 249.1

72
From the stress analysis of the initial design, it is observed that the maximum membrane and
membrane plus bending stress occurs along path-20 whereas minimum membrane stress occurs
at path-10 and minimum membrane plus bending stress is found along path-8. We did expect the
maximum stress values along path-20, as this path/SCL was created in the high stress region of
the model. Note that, stress analysis was performed on nominal design of the pressure vessel
model with shell thickness of 10 mm and flange thickness of 16 mm. The above stress verification
results demonstrates that linearized stresses evaluated along all the paths are well-within the
allowable limits and hence this design of the pressure vessel model is legitimate and safe.
Although the initial design is valid, it is not the best fit solution as the weight of the pressure vessel
can be further reduced while it can still sustain stresses within the allowable limits. Thus, a
volume/weight minimizing optimization was carried out by varying the shell thickness and flange
thickness of the vessel. When we seek the optimal design for weight reduction of this pressure
vessel model, the above-mentioned stress linearization and classification approach is followed
and the stress verifications as specified by the ASME Pressure vessel code are evaluated for
every optimization search iteration. Note that, the linearization paths creation is also automated
through the APDL script file such that the paths are recreated in the same location of the geometry
every time the design parameters changes. This allows us to evaluate the stresses along the
same locations in the model for every search iteration in the optimization loop. The details of the
optimization problem formulation for the pressure vessel model in MATLAB are discussed in the
next chapter.

CHAPTER 5: MATLAB Optimization

From the general standpoint of searching for the best available design, optimization can be
defined as follows. Mathematical optimization is the process of maximizing and/or minimizing one
or more objectives without violating specified design constraints, by regulating a set of variable
parameters that influence both the objectives and the design constraints. It is important to realize
that in order to apply mathematical optimization, you need to express the objective(s) and the
design constraint(s) as quantitative functions of the variable parameters. These variable
parameters are also known as design variables or decision variables.

MATLAB Optimization tool provides some very powerful functions for finding parameters that
minimize or maximize objectives while satisfying constraints. Based on the problem in hand, these
optimization solvers can be used along with a suitable algorithm to find the optimal solution. The

73
tool includes solvers for linear programming, mixed-integer linear programming, quadratic
programming, nonlinear optimization, and nonlinear least squares. We can use these solvers to
find optimal solutions to continuous and discrete problems, perform tradeoff analyses, and
incorporate optimization methods into algorithms and applications.

5.1 Optimization Problem Formulation in MATLAB


A general structural optimization problem can be mathematically formulated using the following
set of equations:

min f(x)
subject to
g(x) ≤ 0
h(x) = 0
where
xL ≤ x ≤ xU

The function f(x) represents the objective function or the cost function, which we would like to
minimize or maximize. The function g(x) represents a vector of inequality constraints evaluated
at x and the function h(x) represents a vector of equality constraints evaluated at x. The vector x
represents the vector of real-valued design variables. These are the quantities that we can change
in the design to improve its behavior. The constraints on the design variables, xL and xU , are
called side constraints. Design variables cannot be chosen arbitrarily; they must satisfy certain
specific functional requirements to produce an acceptable design. For example, in this pressure
vessel design, the variables selected by the optimization algorithm should be such that the design
passes the stress verifications in order to be considered as an acceptable design. These
restrictions that must be satisfied in a design are called design constraints. Design constraints are
classified into two; one that represent limitations on the behavior or performance of the system
and one that pose physical limitations on the design variables. While the former is referred to as
behavior or functional constraint, the latter is known as geometric or side constraints. An efficient
and accurate solution to the above stated optimization problem depends not only on the size of
the problem in terms of the number of constraints and design variables but also on characteristics
of the objective function and constraints.

For the pressure vessel model under consideration, the above shown optimization problem can
be mathematically formulated as:

74
minimize: Total Weight of the Pressure Vessel f(x)
subject to
Primary Membrane Stress 𝑃𝐿 ≤ 205.5 MPa
Primary Membrane Plus Bending Stress 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 ≤ 205.5 MPa g(x)
Primary Membrane Plus Bending + Secondary Stress 𝑃𝐿 + 𝑃𝑏 + 𝑄 ≤ 411 MPa
h(x) = 0
where
4 mm ≤ x(1): shell thickness ≤ 10 mm
16 mm ≤ x(2): flange thickness ≤ 30 mm

Objective Function: The objective function to be minimized is the total weight of the pressure
vessel. Like most of the conventional optimization problems, this is also a single objective
optimization problem. Instead of the conventional method where the objective in MATLAB is
evaluated as a function of design parameters, a scalar value representing the total volume of the
pressure vessel structure, obtained from ANSYS FEA is being directly feed into the objective
function value.

Design Variables: During design of a Pressure Vessel, several parameters have to be


considered to manufacture it efficiently by meeting up the industry requirements. For the analysis
of the current pressure vessel equipment, we consider the shell thickness and flange thickness
of the vessel as the design parameters. During Optimization, both the design parameters are
varied in a specified range. The shell thickness value is varied from 4mm to 10mm, whereas the
flange thickness value is varied from 16mm to 30mm. The figure-66 displayed below, shows the
design variables used in this optimization problem.

Figure 66: Design Variables

75
Constraints: In general, almost all engineering problems are constrained. Constraints can be
either inequality constraints (g(x) ≤ or g(x) ≥) or equality constraints (h(x) = 0). The feasible
region for inequality constraints represents the entire area on the feasible side of the allowable
value; for equality constraints, the feasible region is only where the constraint is equal to the
allowable value. As discussed in section 4.2, different allowable limits have been specified for
membrane and membrane plus bending stress, based on the stress category and path locations.
For the current pressure vessel optimization, these stress limits form the inequality design
constraints. Note that, this optimization problem does not contain equality constraints. As
mentioned earlier, the design should comply with these constraints in order to be considered as
a feasible solution.

Side Constraints: Side constraints can be described as the geometrical or physical limitations
imposed on the design variables. Since this is a minimization problem, the range of the design
variables are the side constraints. In MATLAB, the side constraints are defined by two sets of
vectors xL and xU where xL represents a lower bound on the design variables and xU represents
the upper bound on the design variables. Number of elements on each of these vectors must be
equal to the number of design variables. A lower bound of 4 mm has been set for the shell
thickness because of the geometrical restrictions. When shell thickness has a value lower than
4mm, some of the geometrical entities in the finite element model becomes invalid and thus the
analysis can no longer be conducted. An upper bound of 10 mm was set for the shell thickness.
Similarly, an a lower bound of 16mm and an upper bound of 30 mm was set for flange thickness.

To formulate an optimization problem in MATLAB, we generally follow these steps:


• Choose an optimization solver.
• Create an objective function, typically the function you want to minimize.
• Create constraints, if any.
• Set options, or use the default options.
• Call the appropriate solver/Algorithm.

5.2 Design Space Exploration


Once we have defined the optimization problem, we are ready to start searching the design space.
Prior to optimizing a design, it is useful to employ design space exploration—a quantitative
method that help engineers gain a better, more complete understanding of a structure's potential
by discovering which design variables will have the greatest impact on the structure's

76
performance. Design exploration assumes that the optimal design is initially unknown and initially
uncharacterizable. The process of design exploration discovers design conditions and through
experimentation characterizes what an optimal design looks like. Once this is known, the final
solution can then be found through a convergent design optimization algorithm. The essential
quantitative method for design space exploration is design-of-experiment (DOE) studies. In a
DOE study, an analysis model is automatically evaluated multiple times, with the design variables
set to different values in each iteration. The results identify which variable(s) affect the design the
most, and which least.

A design of experiments study was conducted for the finite element model of the pressure vessel.
This analysis model is automatically evaluated multiple times, with the design variables – shell
thickness and flange thickness set to different values in each iteration. The results of DOE process
were then used to generate the response of the model. Analyzing response of a system is
necessary for visualizing the design space, examining relationships among design variables and
their effects on key responses, and rapidly evaluating design alternatives. The figure-67 below
depicts the response of the pressure vessel model generated in MATLAB. The plot is based on
data created by meshing the space with a 20X20 grid of values for the design parameters, shell
and flange thickness. Hence the finite element model of the pressure vessel was evaluated 400
times to generate the results for the contour plot. The shell thickness parameter was varied from
4mm to 10mm, whereas flange thickness parameter was varied from 16mm to 30mm.

It is important to keep in mind that the graphical representation is typically restricted to two
variables. For three variables, we need a fourth dimension to resolve the information while three-
dimensional contour plots are not easy to illustrate. Sometimes, even the three-dimensional
graphical representation does not really enhance our understanding of the problem or solution.
But since we are considering only two design variables for the current optimization problem of
pressure vessel, we can easily plot and analyze the graphical results.

77
Figure 67: Response of the Pressure Vessel Model

It can be seen from figure-67 that total weight of the pressure vessel reduces linearly with the
decrease in shell and flange thickness. Smooth flat continuous surface in the response indicates
a linearly varying objective function, weight of the vessel in this case.

The simplest determination of non-linearity or linearity in the model is through a graphical


representation of the design functions involved in the problem. In order to determine the feasible
design region for our parameters, we need to draw the contours of the objective function and
design constraints. Since, as per the DOE results the maximum membrane and membrane plus
bending stress occurs along path-17, we will use stress results along this path to draw the
constraint contours. The figure-68 below represents the design space created in MATLAB with
the same data points which were used to create the response. The membrane and membrane
plus bending stress contours are shown on the same plot, drawn in blue and red color
respectively. The solid black lines represent contours of the total volume of the pressure vessel,
the objective. These contour plots give the insight on the behavior of the objective function with
respect to change in the design variables. We can see that weight decreases as we move from

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the upper right corner of the design space towards the lower left corner. According to the design
space, optimal solution should lie in the range of shell thickness 4mm-4.5mm and flange thickness
of 22mm-30mm. This is a feasible region for the optimum solution because the pressure vessel
model can sustain the stresses within the allowable stress limits for membrane and membrane
plus bending stress, when design parameter values lie in this specific region. If we look closely at
figure-68, the possible space for optimal solution is drawn on the design space.

Figure 68: Design Space

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Figure 69: Membrane Stress Contours Figure 70: Membrane Plus Bending Stress Contours

Figure-69 and figure-70 represents the stress contours for the linearized membrane and
membrane plus bending stress evaluated along path-17. The contours shows the increase in
stress with decrease in shell thickness and flange thickness values.

For the nominal value of shell thickness equal to 10 millimeters and flange thickness equal to 16
millimeters, the total volume possessed by the pressure vessel was evaluated to be 198559610
cubic millimeters and the maximum element Von-Mises stress was calculated to be 325.77 MPa.
As this is a minimization problem, our aim should be to achieve a lower value for the total weight
(objective function) in comparison with the nominal value. Again, remember that the linearized
stresses along all the paths must be less than the allowable stress limits to avoid failure.

Individual graphs were plotted to determine the level of influence that each design variable poses
on the objective function. The figure-71 shows the variation of the total volume of the vessel with
respect to the change in shell thickness while the flange thickness was fixed to the nominal value
of 16mm. The figure-72 shows the variation of the total volume of the vessel with respect to the
change in flange thickness while the shell thickness was fixed to the nominal value of 10mm. It
can be clearly seen from the figures that our design function, i.e., total weight of the pressure
vessel is more sensitive to change in shell thickness parameter. This was in-fact expected
because shell thickness parameter has more weightage in the model geometry construction in
comparison to flange thickness.

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Figure 71: Objective function (Total Volume) vs shell Figure 72: Objective function (Total Volume) vs flange
thickness thickness

5.3 MATLAB fmincon function


The MATLAB provides inbuilt functions like fminbnd, fminunc, fminsearch, ga, linprog, quadprog,
fmincon, lsqcurvefit, fgoalattain, lsqnonlin, etc which can be used for minimization, multiobjective
optimization, and solving least-squares or data-fitting problems. The most difficult part in MATLAB,
is to decide which solver and algorithm will produce the best optimal results for the problem in
hand. For the current problem, ‘fmincon’ is the best suitable option because this is a minimization
problem which involves a constrained nonlinear multivariable function. fmincon is a MatLab inbuilt
nonlinear solver for optimization which best applies to smooth objective functions with smooth
constraints. It is a gradient-based method that is designed to work on problems where the
objective and constraint functions are both continuous and have continuous first derivatives. It
has proved to be a suitable tool to solve many optimization problems in the mechanical
engineering field. Like most of the optimization solvers, fmincon only guarantee's finding a local
optimum. To run fmincon, we need to define the objective function, constraint function and we
also need to specify the initial design variable values. The user can also set the optimization
options for fmincon or any other solver in MATLAB by using the ‘optimoptions’ function.

The fmincon function in MATLAB is called using the command shown below:

[Xopt,Fopt] = fmincon(fun,x0,A,b,Aeq,beq,lb,ub,nonlcon,options)

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where x0, A, b, Aeq, beq, LB, and UB are the input variables that need to be defined before calling
fmincon. ‘fun’ is the name of the function file containing the definition of f(x), and ‘nonlcon’ is the
name of the function file containing the nonlinear constraints. The variables Xopt and Fopt are
the outputs of fmincon, where Xopt is the optimum vector of variables [x1,x2] and Fopt is the
minimum value of the objective function. Other output details like exit flag, stopping criteria
message and gradient values can also be extracted. A, b, Aeq, and beq: These variables need to
be defined only if the problem has linear constraints. In many cases, all constraints (linear and
nonlinear) can be defined in the nonlcon.m file, so these variables can simply be defined as empty
matrices. LB and UB are the vectors that define lower and upper bounds on the design variables.
fmicon starts the optimization at x0 and attempts to find a minimizer x of the function described in
fun subjected to the linear and nonlinear, equality and in-equality constraints.

The optimset command can be used to set or change the values of the optimization options. Some
of these options are relevant to particular algorithms. The options arguments include algorithms
selection, stopping criteria, iteration display settings, step tolerance, constraint tolerance, Max
iterations, Max function evaluations, plot functions etc. The function optimset creates an options
structure that is passed as an input argument to the optimization solver (fmincon in this case). For
the pressure vessel optimization problem, a few options that were changed from their default
value are explained below in table-43:

Table 43: fmincon Optimization Options

Default
Option Name Description Changed Value
Value
Algorithm used by solver
Algorithm Interior-point Active-set
(fmincon)
Minimum change in variables
DiffMinChange 1e-6 0.1
for finite differencing
Termination tolerance on x,
the current point. TolX is a
tolx lower bound on the size of a
1e-6 1e-4
(Step Tolerance) step. If the solver attempts to
take a step that is smaller
than TolX, the iterations end.
Maximum number of
MaxIter 100 10000
iterations allowed.
Maximum number of
MaxFunEvals 200 10000
function evaluations allowed.

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{@optimplotx,
User-defined or built-in plot
@optimplotfval,
function that an optimization @optimplotconstrviolation,
PlotFcns {}
function calls at each @optimplotfunccount,
@optimplotfirstorderopt,
iteration. @optimplotstepsize}
Level of display. 'off' displays
no output; 'iter' displays
output at each iteration;
Display 'final' displays just the final off iter
output; 'notify' displays
output only if the function
does not converge.

After defining the above quantities, the function fmincon is called. The function fmincon calls (i)
nonlcon.m to evaluate the constraints and (ii) fun.m to evaluate the objective function. fmincon
provides five different algorithms options:
1. 'interior-point' (default)
2. 'Trust-region-reflective'
3. 'sqp'
4. 'sqp-legacy'
5. 'active-set'

In the present work, active-set and sqp algorithms are used. Results are discussed at the end.
The other algorithms are excluded because either they are time consuming or they are not
suitable for the problem in hand. For example, implementing Trust-Region-Reflective Algorithm
is very complex process as it requires user specified gradient for both objective and constraint
functions. Understanding how these algorithms work requires advanced statistics and machine
learning background and since this is beyond the scope of this work, only a brief description of
these algorithms is stated below.

Interior- Point: 'interior-point' handles large, sparse problems, as well as small dense problems.
The algorithm satisfies bounds at all iterations, and can recover from NaN or Inf results. It is a
large-scale algorithm; The algorithm can use special techniques for large-scale problems. For
details, see Interior-Point Algorithm in fmincon options

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Active-set: 'active-set' can take large steps, which adds speed. The algorithm is effective on
some problems with non-smooth constraints. It is not a large-scale algorithm. Lagrange multipliers
are directly computed based on the solution of KKT (Karush-Kuhn-Tucker) equations.
Constrained quasi-Newton methods guarantee superlinear convergence by accumulating
second-order information regarding the KKT equations using a quasi-Newton updating procedure.
Like sqp algorithm, a QP sub-problem is solved at each major iteration.

Sqp: 'sqp' satisfies bounds at all iterations. It is not a large-scale algorithm. This method allows
us to closely mimic Newton's method for constrained optimization just as is done for
unconstrained optimization. At each major iteration, an approximation is made of the Hessian of
the Lagrangian function using a quasi-Newton updating method. This is then used to generate a
QP subproblem whose solution is used to form a search direction for a line search procedure.
This algorithm has proved to be superior in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and percentage of
successful solutions, over a large number of test problems.

Trust-region-reflective: 'trust-region-reflective' requires you to provide a gradient, and allows


only bounds or linear equality constraints, but not both. Within these limitations, the algorithm
handles both large sparse problems and small dense problems efficiently. It is a large-scale
algorithm. The algorithm can use special techniques to save memory usage, such as a Hessian
multiply function.

As discussed in previous section, the objective function, i.e., total weight of the pressure vessel
is more sensitive to change in shell thickness. Hence, to effectively reduce the weight of the
vessel, optimization algorithms would try minimize the shell thickness of the vessel as much as
possible. On the other hand, since the maximum stress occurs along the corner junction of shell
body and nozzle, the algorithms would try maximize the flange thickness in order to comply with
the stress constraints.

CHAPTER 6: Integration of ANSYS and MATLAB


In this chapter, the methodology to interface ANSYS and MATLAB is explained in detail. It is worth
highlighting that any other finite element software either licensed or opened source may be used
to be coupled with MatLab. The requirement to be fulfilled is that the software must allow
programming the finite element model by means of a script file in order to be able to automate
the proposed optimization methodology shown. This kind of integrated approach is desired in
optimization of complex designs because it is completely automated and does not require any

84
kind of user intervention, until an optimum solution is found. The coupling between MatLab and
the finite element software is done by means of a batch command shown below.

!"C:\Program Files\ANSYS Inc\v170\ansys\bin\winx64\ANSYS170.exe" -b


-i C:\Users\artik\Desktop\Thesis\PressureVesselModel_script.txt
-o C:\Users\artik\Desktop\Thesis\FEAreport.txt

Where -b is the batch command followed by -i and -o which represent the directory for input and
output file respectively. The Objective function file “PressureVessel_obj.m” defined in MatLab
calls ANSYS to runs in batch mode. This file updates the variables in the Ansys script file
“PressureVesselModel_script.txt”, executes ANSYS in batch mode and evaluates the Objective
function and stress results.

The main advantage of creating and solving a model by means of APDL script is that the model
can be defined in terms of variables, thus creating a parametric model. The variables that are
employed to create a parametric model for the pressure vessel are shell thickness and flange
thickness. The values of these variables will be varied by the optimization algorithm until a
minimum is reached. APDL post-process allows, to store the results of the analyzed model in a
text file. Required data are extracted from this text file and are fed to the optimization tool in order
to redefine the design variables.

Figure-73 below defines the optimization loop. It can be seen that the information between
ANSYS and MatLab is exchanged based on the text files which are overwritten in each loop. It
should be noted that all the created files must be placed on the same directory of the hard drive
or else the user should set appropriate path for these files.

The optimization loop will flow through the following steps:

 The file “PressureVessel_Optimization.m” is the main file which runs fmincon to evaluate
the objective function. (Weight of the pressure Vessel in this case).
 As soon as the main file is run in MATLAB, the objective function file
‘PressureVessel_obj.m’ is called.
 Objective function file runs ANSYS in batch mode by using the above-mentioned
command.
 ANSYS script file ‘PressureVesselModel_script.txt’ retrieves the values of shell thickness
and flange thickness from MATLAB design variables and the finite element model is
solved in ANSYS.

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 Results obtained from finite element analysis are stored in a text file “ANYSresults.txt”.
These results are extracted in MATLAB to evaluate the Objective function and constraints.
 fmincon algorithm updates the value of design parameters and the loop is repeated until
an optimum solution is found.

Figure 73: Integration Flow Chart

CHAPTER 7: Results and Conclusion

7.1 Results
Several cases were run by calling fmincon with different initial design variable values and with
different step tolerance limits, to check the convergence of the optimal solution. The optimized
results obtained by using active-set algorithm were compared with the results given by sqp
algorithm. The first three runs were conducted using active-set algorithm whereas all the other
runs were performed using sqp algorithm. As shown in table-45 below, the best solution was given

86
by run-2 in which the total weight of the pressure vessel was reduced by about 39.21%. The
convergence of the optimal solution was checked using different initial design variable values and
different step tolerance values. From table-44, we can see that a faster convergence is obtained
by using lower step tolerance values with a slight decrease in the weight reduction %. The reason
behind this is that for tight tolerances, fmincon evaluates more number of points which thereby
increases the number of iterations taken to get convergence at the optimal point. Hence the best
approach is to start optimization with a low step tolerance value whenever the problem is time
consuming and the design space is widely spread. It should be noted that since fmincon is not a
global optimization solver, optimized values of the design variables are possible local minimum.
The optimization results along with the descriptive iterations for different fmincon runs are shown
below:

Fmincon run-1

Initial Design Points: X0= [5 23] where,

X0(1) =shell thickness (Unit: mm)


X0(2) =flange thickness (Unit: mm)

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]

Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', 'active-set’, DiffMinChange’, 0.1,


'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-2, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.1609 23.0116]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT= 122236730

198559610 − 122236730
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 38.43%
198559610

87
Figure 74: fmincon run-1 iterations

Figure 75: Plot functions for fmincon run-1

88
Fmincon run-2

Initial Design Points: X0= [4.1 25] where,

X0(1) =shell thickness (Unit: mm)


X0(2) =flange thickness (Unit: mm)

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]

Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', 'active-set’, DiffMinChange’, 0.1,


'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-3, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.0000 23.5703]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT=120699140

198559610 − 120699140
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 39.21%
198559610

Figure 76: fmincon run-2 iterations

89
Figure 77: Plot Functions for fmincon run-2

Fmincon run-3
Initial Design Points: X0= [5 23] where,
X0(1) =shell thickness
X0(2) =flange thickness

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]

Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', 'active-set’, DiffMinChange’, 0.1,


'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-4, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.1338 22.8975]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT=121669870

198559610 − 121669870
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 38.72%
198559610

90
Figure 78: fmincon run-3 iterations

91
Figure 79: Plot Functions for fmincon run-3

Fmincon run-4 (sqp-algorithm)


Initial Design Points: X0= [4.1 23] where,
X0(1) =shell thickness
X0(2) =flange thickness

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]
Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', ‘sqp’, DiffMinChange’, 0.01,
'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-2, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.2339 22.8461]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT= 122918140

198559610 − 123065150
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 38.02%
198559610

92
Figure 80: fmincon run-4 iterations

Figure 81: Plot functions for fmincon run-4

93
Fmincon run-5 (sqp-algorithm)
Initial Design Points: X0= [4.8 29] where,
X0(1) =shell thickness
X0(2) =flange thickness

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]
Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', ‘sqp’, DiffMinChange’, 0.01,
'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-2, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.0000 28.9607]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT= 128726400

198559610 − 128726400
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 35.17%
198559610

Figure 82: fmincon run-5 iterations

Fmincon run-6 (sqp-algorithm)


Initial Design Points: X0= [4.8 29] where,
X0(1) =shell thickness
X0(2) =flange thickness

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]
Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', ‘sqp’, DiffMinChange’, 0.01,
'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-3, 'PlotFcns',

94
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.0000 26.7502]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT= 125423580

198559610 − 125423580
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 36.83%
198559610

Figure 83: fmincon run-6 iterations

95
Figure 84: Plot functions for fmincon run-6

Fmincon run-7 (sqp-algorithm)


Initial Design Points: X0= [4.8 29] where,
X0(1) =shell thickness
X0(2) =flange thickness

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]
Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', ‘sqp’, DiffMinChange’, 0.01,
'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-4, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.0000 26.7051]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT= 125356370

198559610 − 125356370
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 36.86%
198559610

96
Figure 85: fmincon run-7 iterations

97
Figure 86: Plot Functions for fmincon run-7

Fmincon run-8
Initial Design Points: X0= [5 23] where,
X0(1) =shell thickness
X0(2) =flange thickness

Lower and Upper Bounds on Design parameters: XL=[4 16] XU=[10 30]
Optimization Settings: optimoptions(@fmincon, 'Algorithm', ‘active-set’, DiffMinChange’, 0.1,
'MaxIter', 10000, 'MaxFunEvals', 10000, 'TolX' ,1e-3, 'PlotFcns',
{@optimplotx,@optimplotfval,@optimplotconstrviolation,@optimplotfunccount,@optimplotfirstor
deropt,@optimplotstepsize}, 'display', 'iter')

Optimized Design Parameters: XOPT= [4.1442 22.9901]

Optimized Objective Function (Minimized Volume): FOPT= 121959420

198559610 − 121959420
Total Volume Reduction = ×100 = 38.58%
198559610

98
Figure 87: fmincon run-8 iterations

Figure 88: Plot Functions for fmincon run-8

99
Table 44: fmincon Optimization Convergence for different step tolerance limits

fmincon Algorithm Active-set SQP


Run-1 Run-8 Run-3 Run-5 Run-6 Run-7
Step tolerance ‘tolx’ 1e-2 1e-3 1e-4 1e-2 1e-3 1e-4
Initial Design
Variable X0
[5 23] [5 23] [5 23] [4.1 29] [4.1 29] [4.1 29]
Optimized Design [4.1609 [4.1442 [4.1338 [4.0000 [4.0000 [4.0000
Variable Xopt 23.0116] 22.9901] 22.8975] 28.9607] 26.7502] 26.7051]

Weight Reduction % 38.43 38.58 38.72 35.17 36.83 36.86


Number of iterations
taken
7 14 66 2 17 23

Table 45: Optimization Results Summary

Optimized Design
Design Constraints
Variables Optimal
Weight
Objective: Maximum Maximum
fmincon x1: shell x2: flange Reduction
Total Volume Membrane Membrane
thickness thickness %
(mm3) stress Plus Bending
(mm) (mm)
(MPa) stress (MPa)
Initial Design 10 16 198559610 NA 159.4 249.1
Run-1 4.1609 23.0116 122236730 38.43 205.30 340.67
Active- Run-2 4.0000 23.5703 120699140 39.21 204.70 337.73
set Run-3 4.1338 22.8975 121669870 38.72 205.46 338.07
Run-8 4.1442 22.9901 121959420 38.58 205.35 350.07
Run-4 4.2339 22.8461 122918140 38.02 205.05 353.59
Run-5 4.0000 28.9607 128726400 35.17 191.19 296.37
sqp
Run-6 4.0000 26.7502 125423580 36.83 204.29 313.46
Run-7 4.0000 26.7051 125356370 36.86 204.02 304.88
Best
Run-2 4.0000 23.5703 120699140 39.21 204.70 337.73
Solution

7.2 Conclusions
The total weight of the pressure vessel was reduced by 39%. The optimal design parameters for
the pressure vessel are obtained and the objective minimization of cost by reducing weight of the
Pressure vessel is achieved. Design parameters, shell thickness and flange thickness, are
optimized while limiting the maximum linearized membrane and membrane plus bending stresses

100
below the allowable limits. Based on the comparison of different fmincon runs, weight reduction
obtained by using active-set algorithm was in the range of 38% - 39% whereas the reduction
obtained by using sqp algorithm was in the range of 35% - 37%. As predicted from the design
space analysis, the optimal point in fact does lies in the estimated optimal solution region. Hence,
it can be concluded that this kind of interfacing approach where powerful FEA softwares such as
ANSYS are integrated with robust optimization tools like MATLAB, can be used to solve different
types of complex design optimization problems. It was also found that the optimization in design
of pressure vessel using FEA is a safe and promising method as it has successfully satisfied the
goal of weight reduction. The methodology implemented in this study is very effective and can be
a successful tool for advance analysis in the structural design field. The integrated approach used
in this thesis work is desired for solving optimization problems because the process is completely
automated and does not require any kind of user intervention until an optimum solution is found.

Optimization solution for finite element model of this pressure vessel is mesh dependent, but
since we have a discontinuity in the model, the mesh density was kept fixed throughout the
optimization process. In particular, the optimization problem was solved by using MATLAB inbuilt
optimization solver called 'fmincon'. As FMINCON gives the local minimum within the limits
specified for the design variables, the minimum weight value obtained in this study is a local
minimum.

7.3 Future Work


 This pressure vessel structure was also modeled in ANSYS workbench with the purpose
of performing the optimization using workbench’s goal-driven optimization tool. But due to
time constraint, this study could not be conducted.

 The analysis can be reexamined by modeling the thin cylindrical shell body of the pressure
vessel using shell elements. Optimized results obtained from this shell model investigation
can be compared and verified with the results obtained from the current work.

 Integrating Altair Hypermesh, ANSYS and MATLAB. Optimization of design by pre-


processing including meshing the finite element model in Hypermesh, solving the model
in ANSYS, followed by the optimization in MATLAB. Altair Hypermesh provides superior
meshing options with good element level control compared to all FEA softwares

101
available in the market. This will definitely give a much accurate solution since user
can exploit the desired unique features limited to each software.

 Further analysis can be conducted on this pressure vessel by considering a few more
design parameter such as radius of the cylindrical shell body, length of the cylindrical
shell body, head thickness, head height, height of the nozzle openings etc.

 Metaheuristic based global optimization algorithms like genetic algorithm, Ant colony
optimization algorithm, Differential Evolution and Simulated Annealing can be used to find
the global optimum for the pressure vessel model used in this work.

 Shape or Topology Optimization can be implemented to remove the redundant material


from specific components of the pressure vessel.

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13. Ajaykumar Menon, "STRUCTURAL OPTIMIZATION USING ANSYS AND


REGULATED MULTIQUADRIC RESPONSE SURFACE MODEL", Thesis Report, The
University of Texas at Arlington, December 2005.

14. Miguel Mattar Neto, Carlos Alexandre de Jesus Miranda, Altair Antonio Faloppa
and Gerson Fainer, "ASME Stress Linearization and Classification of a WYE
piping juction”, 2011 ANSYS Conference & ESSS Users Meeting.

15. ITER STRUCTURAL DESIGN CRITERIA FOR IN-VESSEL COMPONENTS,


APPENDIX B - GUIDELINES FOR ANALYSIS, IN-VESSEL COMPONENTS

16. MATLAB fmincon, https://www.mathworks.com/help/optim/ug/fmincon.html

17. Constrained Nonlinear Optimization Algorithms,


https://www.mathworks.com/help/optim/ug/constrained-nonlinear-optimization-
algorithms.html

18. ANSYS Solid95 Elements: http://www.ansys.stuba.sk/html/elem_55/chapter4/ES4-


95.htm

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19. Stress Categories for Design by Analysis of Pressure Vessels, Talk for ANSYS
USERS GROUP - June 1999

20. PV Eng - Linearization, http://pveng.com/home/fea-stress-analysis/linearization/

21. ANSYS Linearized Stress document,


https://www.sharcnet.ca/Software/Ansys/17.0/enus/help/wb_sim/ds_linearized_stress
es.html

22. ASME SGDA-99-2, PROPOSED NON-MANDATORY APPENDIX for Subcommittees


III & VIII, Interpretation of Finite Element Analysis Stress Results, Rev 4, 2000

APPENDIX
HOPPER DIAGRAGM

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
Artik Patel enrolled in PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India in 2008 and earned his B.E.
(Bachelor of Engineering) in Mechanical Engineering in June 2012. After his graduation, he
worked as a Project Engineer at Wipro technologies, Bangalore, India from August 2012 to April
2014. He had started his M.S. (Master of Science) degree in Mechanical Engineering at The
University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas in August 2014 and earned M.S. Degree in
Mechanical Engineering in December 2016 with a 4.0 G.P.A. During his tenure as a master’s
student, he served as the Graduate Teaching Assistant of Dr. Raul Fernandez, Dr. Adrian
Rodriguez and Dr. Kent Lawrence. His thesis was based on the design optimization of pressure
vessel structure subjected to design constraints specified by the ASME Boiler and Pressure
Vessel code. His current research interests are finite elements, structural optimization and
computer aided design. His long-term goal is to work as a structural analyst in the engineering
industry.

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